Ryan Sidebottom turned in a miserly spell of four wickets for five runs in 10.1 overs Friday as New Zealand were bowled out for 277 on the second day of the first Test here at Lord's.
But considering New Zealand had been 104 for five, in overcast, seam-bowler friendly conditions after losing the toss, theirs was a fine recovery.
New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori did his best to keep England at bay with 48 before he was last man out, bowled by Sidebottom.
Vettori's innings supplemented wicket-keeper Brendon McCullum's excellent run-a-ball 97 which began New Zealand's fightback on Thursday.
England were 26 without loss when bad light forced an early tea.
Andrew Strauss was nine not out and Alastair Cook 16 not out.
Earlier, Sidebottom returned innings figures of four wickets for 55 runs in 28.2 overs.
The Nottinghamshire left-arm quick's haul was all the more impressive as he didn't take a wicket until his 24th over.
Vettori, primarily a left-arm spinner, has won himself a deserved reputation as one of the best No 8 batsmen currently in world cricket.
New Zealand's enduringly fragile top-order has often left the 28-year-old having to bat his side out of trouble.
And on Friday, once more showing good judgment in both defence and attack, Vettori proved a thorn in the side of England's bowlers.
Sidebottom, the Black Caps' tormentor-in-chief with 24 wickets during England's 2-1 Test series win in New Zealand in March, found his line Friday after a wicketless first day and took two for three in 7.5 overs before lunch.
Vettori, however, guided his side nearer 300 with three well-struck fours in as many balls off James Anderson.
He was in sight of his 17th Test fifty when, three balls after stoppage for bad light, Vettori was bowled by Sidebottom after making a late decision to try to leave the ball.
In all, he batted for 162 minutes and faced 100 balls with six fours.
New Zealand, after Sidebottom removed Jacob Oram for 28 with the help of a first slip catch by Strauss, looked as if they might get through the morning session for the loss of just one wicket.
But with the second delivery with the new ball, Sidebottom bowled Kyle Mills for 10 with an inswinger.